My friend Amy recommended this Joanne Harris book to me, saying that I'll really like the magical side of the story. Since I trust her judgement, I immediately went to buy Chocolat, to which The Lollipop Shoes is a sequel. I loved Chocolat and so when I saw The Lollipop Shoes at the library I couldn't resist taking it.
I'm sure that The Lollipop Shoes can be read as a stand-alone novel, but I think you gain a lot from having read Chocolat beforehand. Here, the lives of Vianne and Anouk are continued and the place that Vianne wants to make sure they end up is very much dependant on what happened to them where they lived before. They now live in Montmartre in Paris and call themselves Yanne and Annie. Yanne is nothing like Vianne - she is trying to lead a normal, stable, non-magical life and to ensure that Annie is just a regular girl. Things are going fairly smoothly, Yanne has become an expert in masking her unhappiness, even from herself. Until Zozie de l'Alba swoops in and befriends them. She seems to be a best friend and good luck charm all rolled into one, but she's certainly not either. What ensues requires both teenage Annie and grown-up Yanne to confront who they really are and how they want to lead their lives.
I loved The Lollipop Shoes. The everyday magic was much more central and vivid and I loved every minute of it. I hated Zozie more with each page until I could barely get myself to read the parts of the book written from her perspective. Thankfully, Joanne Harris wrote some chapters from Zozie's perspective, some from Yanne's and some from Annie's. The writing was great and the three voices were disctint where they needed to be, but they spilled into each other and became one when they needed to as well. Genius.
It made me want to read up on herbs and charms again too! :-)
Challenges: Seconds 2008, Chunkster Challenge, Countdown Challenge